While the heads of the U.S. military make their case to Congress for limited cuts to the defense budget, the Army is celebrating its 237th birthday.
General Ray Odierno, the Army chief-of-staff, appeared on Morning Joe Thursday where he said in recent years the military has “been given the resources to execute the two wars we’ve been asked to execute.” In a post published on FoxNews.com, “Happy Birthday to the US Army,” he echoed that statement: “We have the best equipped, best trained and best led Army in history…”
“There is concern about future cuts,” Odierno added during Morning Joe.
“These are tough times to be a man or a woman in the Army,” added host Joe Scarborough as the group discussed the effects of multiple deployments on troops and the fact that most Americans have no role in the military.
But guest Arianna Huffington, founder of Huffington Post and an outspoken critic of the continuation of the war in Afghanistan, pressed Odierno to recognize the American public’s overwhelming rejection of the war today – both Democrats and Republicans.
“General Odierno, isn’t one of the problems that while everybody in this country supports you, the men and women in uniform, millions are questioning the rationale for remaining in Afghanistan?” Huffington said. “You are there to execute the policies of the commander-in-chief, but of course behind the scenes we understand the Army keeps advocating escalating in Afghanistan without any clear mission or any clear victory strategy?”
Gen. Odierno disagreed, saying “I think that’s a strong statement.”
“What we want to do in Afghanistan, we want the Afghan army to take over…to secure their own people. That’s the end-solution here,” he added. “What we don’t want to happen is if we pull out a year early or six months early, and they all of sudden aren’t able to do that? Then we’ve wasted 10 years. I think the president has done a good job of walking down that line and trying to come up with the right solution.”